Letters & Opinion

The dynamism of development must change

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

Everybody who’s ever planted anything that has grown knows that when you uproot, you have to replant. That is basic. But not everybody seems to know. Take our dear City of Castries, our nation’s capital.

Castries as a City has been in the hands of a selective group of citizens for at least the last 20 years. Prior to that time, almost every business enterprise within the city limits was owned and managed by a local, an ordinary St. Lucian, who we would term for the purpose of this article as, The Roots.

Today, if you look around only high-cost buildings and commercial spaces exist. No more Mama or Papa shops exist. The few locals that do have some sort of business have to create a corner space, build themselves some sort of low-cost outlet and try to eke-out a living.

Some Ministers of Government boast of additional shack-like outlets they added to the roadside to improve the livelihood of the common man. But still today, the streets are busting at the seams, with people trying desperately to get a space, to sell something, to make a genuine dollar.

The city no doubt had a lot of homes built on the corner streets, hence the advent of the Wilton Yards, the Grass Streets, ‘Bakafai’, etc. (as we know them today) that need to be rebuilt in another area to give way to small enterprise. But they can’t budge because the state has not found it fit to assist them in finding the alternative home space that is within the city limits and its environment.

The people want and need to expand their horizon and find new and enterprising ways to make a living, but are snuffed-out by the same system that they vote into political power to help them.

You say that the wheels of the law move slow, but the will to assist the masses, moves even slower. The fault could have been started from the earlier home-owners that sold-out to the new commercial enterprises for replacing them with banks and legal offices, supermarkets, clothing stores and service providers, etc. But when you are offered a price above market price it is very encouraging and enticing — and knowing human nature, that could be expected from the landlords and owners of those buildings.

But now, times have changed, the people’s needs are more acute, survival has become more crucial and for this reason there is an urgency to get The Roots replanted in the city, the commercial capital of the country. Castries is the heartbeat of this country, the place more assured to make a dollar, sell or buy something, so the dynamism of development has to change. We now have to think outside the box, start to reestablish a base for the people (The Roots) — the nationals, the legitimate Lucians, those who inherited by birthright.

Don’t worry where the money will come from for them to set up themselves, they will always find a way. But what they need most is the help of the state to create such opportunities and deal with their plight.

Life today is no joke, as survival has become a serious situation and if we do not deal with development at all fronts, Crapo smoke our pipes.

Today, we are confronted with several stumbling blocks, ranging from viruses, to climatic conditions, to acute poverty and a jobless society. The help needs to come from both Heaven and Earth, but the future is also dependent on progressive thinking about building a new St. Lucia, but for the people.

Granted, it is good business to cater to our visitors, considering that they do bring-in some badly-needed cash. But the survival of our people is of equal importance and if the visitors stop coming, life will still continue. So, do the right thing and plan for the future of the next generation — those who continue to inherit the earth. We owe it to them and to the land that also gave us birth too!

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